This morning as usual, i read “The Writer’s Almanac” in my daily email. One item struck me. Today is the birthday of Erich Maria Remarque, the German who at twenty was in the trenches during World War I. He’s the guy who wrote All’s Quiet on the Western Front. If you haven’t read it, you should.
As i read the item, i was struck with similarities between now and the time of Erich’s quote and the time of the item’s description of the later reaction in his home country of Germany. i have my vision of how it relates to now (and it wasn’t just ISIS), but i’ll let you come to your own conclusions about who, what, and how:
I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.
The excerpt from the article:
The novel sold more than a million copies in Germany in its first year of publication. Nazis were beginning their rise to power at the time, and they hated the book because it portrayed World War I as misguided and pointless. It was one of the books they publicly burned in 1933. When the film version of the book premiered in Berlin, Nazi gangs attacked the theater. Remarque lost his German citizenship in 1938 and eventually moved to the United States.
i found the similarities terribly sad. Why can’t we learn from the past?